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|Rudder Grange||Frank R. Stockton|
Pomona Once More
|Page 1 of 5||
Sure enough, it was Pomona. There stood our old servant-girl, of the canal-boat, with a crooked straw bonnet on her head, a faded yellow parasol in her hand, a parcel done up in newspaper under her arm, and an expression of astonishment on her face.
"Well, truly!" she ejaculated.
"Into the house, quick!" I said. "We have a savage dog!"
"And here he is!" cried Euphemia. "Oh! she will be torn to atoms."
Straight at Pomona came the great black beast, barking furiously. But the girl did not move; she did not even turn her head to look at the dog, who stopped before he reached her and began to rush wildly around her, barking terribly.
We held our breath. I tried to say "get out!" or "lie down!" but my tongue could not form the words.
"Can't you get up here?" gasped Euphemia.
"I don't want to," said the girl.
The dog now stopped barking, and stood looking at Pomona, occasionally glancing up at us. Pomona took not the slightest notice of him.
"Do you know, ma'am," said she to Euphemia, "that if I had come here yesterday, that dog would have had my life's blood."
"And why don't he have it to-day?" said Euphemia, who, with myself, was utterly amazed at the behavior of the dog.
"Because I know more to-day than I did yesterday," answered Pomona. "It is only this afternoon that I read something, as I was coming here on the cars. This is it," she continued, unwrapping her paper parcel, and taking from it one of the two books it contained. "I finished this part just as the cars stopped, and I put my scissors in the place; I'll read it to you."
Standing there with one book still under her arm, the newspaper half unwrapped from it, hanging down and flapping in the breeze, she opened the other volume at the scissors-place, turned back a page or two, and began to read as follows:
"Lord Edward slowly san-ter-ed up the bro-ad anc-es-tral walk, when sudden-ly from out a cop-se, there sprang a fur-i-ous hound. The marsh-man, con-ce-al-ed in a tree expected to see the life's blood of the young nob-le-man stain the path. But no, Lord Edward did not stop nor turn his head. With a smile, he strode stead-i-ly on. Well he knew that if by be-traying no em-otion, he could show the dog that he was walking where he had a right, the bru-te would re-cog-nize that right and let him pass un-sca-thed. Thus in this moment of peril his nob-le courage saved him. The hound, abashed, returned to his cov-ert, and Lord Edward pass-ed on.
"Foi-led again," mutter-ed the marsh-man.
"Now, then," said Pomona, closing the book, "you see I remembered that, the minute I saw the dog coming, and I didn't betray any emotion. Yesterday, now, when I didn't know it, I'd 'a been sure to betray emotion, and he would have had my life's blood. Did he drive you up there?"
"Yes," said Euphemia; and she hastily explained the situation.
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Frank R. Stockton
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